Appalachian Dialect

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 127

black walnuts growing on tree

It’s time for this month’s Appalachian Vocabulary Test.

I’m sharing a few videos to let you hear the words and phrases. To start the videos click on them.


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1. Birth: to give birth to. “She birthed ten children, but only eight lived to be grown.”


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2. Black dark: complete nightfall. “She come in barefooted after black dark. I’ve told her and told her she’s going to step on a copperhead one of these nights, but she won’t listen.”


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3. Blind staggers: dizziness of a person or animal. “I got up the other morning and took a case of the blind staggers. I reckon my sugar was too high.”

4. Blinked: soured milk. “The milk is blinked. Can you pick up some when you go to town?”


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5. Body: someone, a person (often with reference to oneself). “Its got to where a body can’t even leave the house without locking all the doors and windows for fear of someone breaking in.”

I’m familiar with all of this month’s words, although I don’t hear blind staggers very often.

Leave a comment and let me know how you did on the test 🙂


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  • Reply
    Yecedrah Higman
    September 27, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    They are all commonly used in my family and friends!!! I don’t think I could talk if I couldn’t use words like these!!!

  • Reply
    Danielle (Moore) Miller
    September 15, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Yes, have heard ‘birthed’ and ‘body’ and ‘blind staggers’. I’ve also heard and used ‘swimmy head’ and ‘clabbered milk’. Thanks for sharing these treasures from our past, which are fading away.

  • Reply
    Paul Kica
    August 31, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    Growed up hearin milk being clabbered,in the Black Mtn.Valley .and from cant see to cant see.each hollar has something akin to each sayings in WNC.sigogglin being my fav lol

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Another thought: “Black Dark” must happen around New Moon.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    I must be slippin’ – only know 3 this time: Know and use “birth” and “body”; Use “Blinky” instead of “blinked for milk that’s just beginning to sour.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    I’m familiar with all but blinked. Blind staggers, reminds me of a feller I worked with describing another feller saying he was ” crazier than a run over dog”.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    I always pronounced Body /bīdy/ until I went out into the world and was ostracized for it. As I got older though I have reverted to my native tongue.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Great photo of Black Walnuts on a tree.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    August 30, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve heard all these words used many times. I say “blinked” and “black dark” frequently.

    • Reply
      September 14, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      We always said “pitch black dark”

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan
    August 30, 2019 at 10:57 am

    This brought back nice memories. My great – aunts and grandparents bodied this and that. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Nancy schmidt
    August 30, 2019 at 10:01 am

    My folks used the word “blinky” to describe milk that was just beginning to turn. (Still good for cooking of course). Townsend, Tennessee and Deepwater, West Virginia .
    I raised my family in Kansas, but we all still won’t touch the milk that begun to be blinky.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 9:54 am

    I never heard “black dark” but I have heard “good dark.” I have heard “staggers” but not “blind staggers”. My grandmother would say milk was “blinky” when it went bad.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 30, 2019 at 9:45 am

    1. That young man talks just like me.
    2. There are various shades of dark, Black Dark being the darkest.
    3. Blind Staggers in humans is akin to weak trembles. I am susceptible to both.
    4. Blinky Milk isn’t drinkable but still usable in cooking. Modern pasteurized milk usually go blinky, it just rots.
    5. ♫ If a Body meet a body, coming through the rye. If a body kiss a body, need a body cry! ♪

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      August 30, 2019 at 10:27 am

      usually doesn’t go blinky, I meant to say.

    • Reply
      August 31, 2019 at 7:07 am

      Every lassie a laddie; nane they say hae I –
      Yet a’ the lads they smile on me when comin’ thro’ the rye! ☺❤

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 9:09 am

    I’ve heard a few people say blinked,but it’s not a word I grew up hearing. Body is a word I I still say quiet often. The other three words are not common in my family.
    My sister and I were just talking about how the women used to say , “she’s going to buy a baby or it’s about time for her to get down” when they were referring to birth. Those were such strange statements and I never understood why they described pregnancy and birth that way.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    August 30, 2019 at 8:56 am

    After becoming a Blind Pig reader I automatically hear the old words and expressions. I have a friend that not only says black dark but says pitch black dark. You also pick up on accents. Checking out of a store the other day I noticed the accent of the clerk. He was from Flagstaff Arizona.
    I’ve heard blind staggers but it’s been a while.
    My Wife usually says the milk is blinky. Beautiful black walnuts. They look like big ones.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    August 30, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Hadn’t heard of black dark, but I sure do like it!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 30, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Tipper–While all are familiar, I don’t think I’ve ever heard blinked used verbally. I’ve just read it. Also, I’ve always heard black dark with pitch in front of it. My favorite description of intense darkness is in a poem by James Weldon Johnson, “blacker than a hundred midnights.”

    Finally, is your lead image of a couple of maturing butternuts? It sure looks that way, and butternuts have become scarce as hen’s teeth. A type of disease is wiping them out.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 30, 2019 at 8:17 am

    4 of 5, do not recall when – if ever – I heard ‘birth’ used in that way and I know I would not use it that way myself. The others sound so familiar and ‘homey’. ‘Black dark’ is a companion to ‘dusky dark’ and has relationship to living by sun time or from ‘can see to can’t see’. When folks still kept a cow and had non-pasteurized milk it going ‘blinky’ was common. And as for ‘body’, don’t you reckon it came before anybody, nobody and everybody? (I recall ‘blind staggers’ being a description of a very drunk person also but have not heard it in a while.)

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    August 30, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Familiar with all of them this time but never heard “blinked” used . I think we probably said the milk had “turned”.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 30, 2019 at 7:16 am

    I know all of these expressions, I find two words ones especially interesting like black dark…two words used together that mean the same thing. This is for emphasis, of course!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 30, 2019 at 6:46 am

    The other day I was feeding the blooming cat and fell. That devil had got tangled up in my feet and made me fall, luckily I ended up on a rubber mat beside the refrigerator.

    I was watching Mark Lowery yesterday and he said, “My Mama shares everything with me. The other day she got the Flu and in a few days, I had it. She got the sniffels and in a few days I got that. She had to have a Hysterectomy, and I’m still waiting.” …Ken

  • Reply
    Julie Moreno
    August 30, 2019 at 6:31 am

    My Granny said blind staggers often!!

    • Reply
      Jim Keller
      August 30, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Pitch dark is what I heard growing up. Never heard blinked before. The rest are common to this day.

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